Portlanders adapt to boil water order, and aging city | News

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Portlanders adapt to boil water order, and aging city

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A major water main break in Portland on Wednesday flooded streets, inundated cars and forced a boil order to be imposed for the entire Portland Penisula. Preliminary results of the water samples tested indicate that the city's water was not contaminated.

According to the Portland Water District, 12 samples of water were collected for testing from various places on the peninsula.

According to spokesperson Michelle Clements of the Portland Water District: "All indications are that the water was not contaminated: chlorine levels were typical and none of the samples had any unusual appearance. They are being analyzed for bacteria and the test requires an 18-hour incubation period before results are known. This means the boil order cannot be lifted any sooner than mid-morning Thursday." 

Restaurants and businesses have had to adapt to the boil order and people who had their cars flooded were left wondering who is responsible for the damage.

Vehicles parked on Somerset Street Wednesday morning were flooded, some a total loss, with valuable belongings inside. 

College student, Whitney Thibeault, was shocked to find her car filled up to the cup holders with water.

"My phone's sitting right there on the seat, it's ruined," says Thibeault. "My text books were in the trunk, but it got in there too."

Portland City Health Inspector, Mike Russell, hit the pavement to warn restaurants of an order to boil water.

"Because it's so densely populated down here with restaurants and people it makes it even more urgent for us to get the message out," says Russell. "There's more establishments so it takes more of an effort to get the word out to different places."

An email about the boil water order went out to 270 restaurants that are part of a voluntary list Wednesday morning. The owner of Bingas Stadium, Alec Altman, says he got that email and contemplated closing.

"We started figuring out what are we going to do. We've got a pirates game tonight, we do our club night tonight, and it was just about trying to bring the day together and not lose a whole day," says Altman. 

Bingas Stadium followed the order and shut down their soda guns. The sports bar bought pounds of fresh ice, and one hundred dollars worth of hand sanitizer.

"We think we put about 800 dollars into the night," says Altman.

Meanwhile at the Portland Pirates game, concessions had to shut down their water supply as well.

The Cumberland County Civic Center says they brought in extra bottled water for the game but you could only spot a few people drinking it.

Overall, people are calling the water main break an inconvenience but are wondering if the city will take responsibility and prevent it from happening again.

Portland Water District spokesperson, Michelle Clements, says, "We do have upwards of 100 water main breaks a year, that is declining, but we do have an issue with older water mains and we are working to replace them."

Altman says he wishes these things wouldn't come as such a surprise, but that he's willing to do what it takes for Bingas Stadium to stay open when water main breaks happen.

"For all the things that could happen to us, this is certainly a pain in the butt," says Altman, "but not something we can't get around."

The cause of the water main break is still under investigation in which the city will determine if it is responsible for any damage to cars or businesses.

If your property sustained damage from the flooding, you can go to the Portland Water District's website and fill out a claim.



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